Pat Forde his own words

Igrew up in Colorado Springs, and attended Air Academy High School, which was a base of the Air Force academy.

About This Project

In his 1973 book "No Cheering in the Press Box," author Jerome Holtzman chronicled the lives of the greatest sports journalists of his generation. Four decades later, students at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism are updating his work with a series of interviews with the best sports journalists of the last 40 years.

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This chapter was produced by Anirudh Sridhar.

About Pat Forde
HOMETOWN: Colorado Springs, Colorado
EDUCATION: University of Missouri
OCCUPATION: Columnist for Yahoo! Sports

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My love for newspapers started when I was a kid because every day our house would receive two newspapers, the Colorado Springs Sun and the Denver Post. My dad would read the Colorado Springs Sun in the morning and the Denver Post at night. Once he was done reading the paper he would hand it to me and then I would read it. After dinner, my dad would go sit in his recline, read the paper and then hand it to me afterward.

My favorite writer was Dick Connor of the Denver Post, and then later on it was Rick Reilly.

Living in Colorado, the Broncos were the main team I cheered for, since baseball wasn’t that big of a deal. The Broncos had this player, Floyd Little, at the time, and he was the best player on a bad team, so he was naturally my favorite player.

Since my mom grew up in St. Louis, I adopted her fandom of the St. Louis Cardinals, and when I was 2 years old, my aunt and uncle sent me a mini Boston Celtics pennant, so I grew up a Celtics fan. I loved watching Lou Brock on the Cardinals and John Havlicek on the Celtics.

I played football for my high school and received a few small offers to play in college, but I didn’t go after it. I attended the University of Missouri and studied journalism there.

While at Mizzou I started covering men’s swimming for the school-wide newspaper, and then moved onto basketball and football for the same paper. Mizzou also had their own journalism school paper, and I wrote for them, too, covering our football team.

I graduated from Mizzou with a bachelor’s in journalism in 1987, and I looked for a job in the newspaper business. I interviewed with the Louisville Courier Journal, and they offered me a job as a high school beat reporter, I accepted and started the next step in my journey there. For my first five years, I covered high school sports, regional colleges and then the University of Kentucky. In 1992, the Journal made me a columnist, which I did for the next 12 years.

In 1995, while I was with the Journal, I wrote some freelance columns for ESPN, which at the time was called ESPN Sports Zone. I would write a weekly basketball column for ESPN Sports Zone, and even though it was freelance gig, I continued to do it because my goal was to work for ESPN.

In 2004, ESPN hired me as a fulltime columnist and my hard work as a freelancer had finally paid off. I never said no to a single assignment and ESPN saw that hardworking ability in me to bring me aboard full time.

For seven years I was a columnist at ESPN, and in 2011, I was offered a position at Yahoo! Sports, and I accepted.

I love the job I have right now.

Although a lot of sports media is going digital and short videos are becoming more popular, writing is what I love and what I plan on doing until I retire.

Between 2008 and 2016 I saw every one of Michael Phelps’ Olympic races, and I was able to witness the highs and lows and everything in between with Michael’s career. The Olympics are most definitely in the top eight of the best sporting events I have attended.

Also in the top eight are three Tiger Woods golf majors victories, the Triple Crown in 2015, the Iron Bowl field goal kick run back for a touchdown, the Christian Laettner shot to beat Kentucky, the Boise State Statue of Liberty play to win the Fiesta Bowl and the Kris Jenkins game-winning shot to win the national championship for Villanova.

Luckily, I was not working the Super Bowl in 2016 and was able to enjoy the Broncos winning as a fan at home.

It’s usually not hard at all for me to not cheer when I’m working because I’m there to do a job and I’m constantly telling myself to “watch the column, watch the column.” I don’t ever root for a specific team to win, but I’m always rooting for the best stories.

There have been times I’ve stood up and yelled out of sheer amazement, like the Boise State Fiesta Bowl game and the Kris Jenkins game-winner, but never cheering. Those plays amazed me, and I was excited because I knew it was going to be a great story and I was looking forward to write about it.

What I would tell young journalists today is don’t turn anything down until you’ve fully established yourself. When I was at the Journal, I freelanced for ESPN Sports Zone for years and built that relationship with ESPN so they would eventually hire me as a part of their staff.

Take on all the opportunities and say yes to everything.

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